Monday, July 20, 2009

Almost Famous

Almost Famous; Tragicomedy, USA, 2000; D: Cameron Crowe, S: Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Anna Paquin, Philip Seymour Hoffman

In '73, William Miller (15) lives alone with his crazy mother Elaine. His father died and his sister Anita ran away 4 years ago because she wasn't allowed to listen to rock' n' roll. After meeting a music critic, William gets the assignment to make an interview with the rock band Stillwater. Entering a disco, he meets Penny Lane, a 'groupie', who follows Stillwater. The editor of the "Rolling Stone" is so overwhelmed he gives William the assignment to follow them around their tour and write an article about them, which he accepts with pleasure. He saves Penny from a pill overdose and delivers his article which at first gets discredited, but then acknowledged by Stillwater.

Winner of 2 Golden Globes (best motion picture - musical or comedy, supporting actress Kate Hudson), 2 BAFTA awards (best screenplay, sound) and one Oscar (best screenplay), "Almost Famous" is half-autobiography by author Cameron Crowe who in a romantic, nostalgic and dreamy way elaborated and presented the music life of the 70s, making it equally special to the viewers as well as to him. The sole story that a young teenager gets a chance to follow a rock band on their tour is a blast, it has a lot of funny dialogues and situations which, just like the humane approaches of Wilder and Ashby, show sympathies for the imperfect characters. One of the better ones is when the mother of the teenage hero, a school teacher, suddenly says this in front of her class: "I'm sorry, I can't concentrate! Rock stars have kidnapped my son!" In another amusing scene, when the plane enters into turbulence, one Stillwater member starts summing "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly (who died in a plane crash). Both intimate and full of youth's spirit, this is a very good film, but it could have been even better: the hero comes across as slightly too passive an one-dimensional at times, his love relationship with Penny Lane is impartial while the story is unfocused.


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